I had a bunch of students in the weight room today and by the end, they broke down into a hang-out session. That is, until this group of otherwise purposeless students (at least, at that moment in time, because they each have their own areas of genius, their own glimmers of light), taught me about the nature of fitness, recreation and hobby in general = coming together. Most people would say that working out is about fitness, losing weight, gaining muscle, but it has so much more to offer (as do countless other hobbies – chess can be about training the brain, but it can also be about the social element of interacting with someone else).
I have always looked at working out in that sense, which is why I have been so spinny about “having to do 26 sets” or “having to do X activities for Y time” or “3 sets = Z amount of time.” I actually started having those thoughts today, even though my grandfather put this workout regimen together to focus on strength gains and total workload (calculations far above my head, and yet, I’m still worrying about not doing enough work, not burning enough calories, not sweating enough). Even as I am typing this up, I am thinking about doing an extra set of pushups, but I won’t for the following reason: I don’t need to, it does not necessarily lead to strength gains (which is the current workout goal). It is the reason why a little while ago, I wanted to always do an additional three portions every day (not just on workout days, as has been the case with the eating system, compensating when I work out), so it would help me not worry about the energy-related elements of working out – however, we thought this had the potential to go unnecessarily sideways (worrying about daily movement), so… Anyways, I will probably look at working out in this sense, and will have to work on that (exposure therapy ALERT).
Onto the story! These students were having a chin-up competition and even though I had already done my pull-ups (from the grandfather strength training regimen), I wanted to build relationships with these particular kids. You see, they usually fuck around in the halls, causing ruckus and making other teachers’ lives hell. By building relationships with them, giving them a positive adult to connect with and providing them with good things related to school, I am achieving an even more important goal than today’s strength gains. Competition aside (tied for 1st, by the way, although that’s not that important), I gained in doing this; I gained in competing as opposed to skipping out because it didn’t fit into the system (fitness in this case, not food). However, the parallel is clear, eating sometimes out of social connection as opposed to just nourishment – taking the cookie or eating an early lunch or trying a certain food, the goals of eating (or in this case, fitness) being connecting socially through love and care.
And when things are based in love and care, they cannot be bad.